UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☑ Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020
☐ Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the transition period from ____ to ____
Commission File No. 1-13653
AMERICAN FINANCIAL GROUP, INC.
Incorporated under the Laws of Ohio IRS Employer I.D. No. 31-1544320
301 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of Each Class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered|
|Common Stock||AFG||New York Stock Exchange|
|5.875% Subordinated Debentures due March 30, 2059||AFGB||New York Stock Exchange|
|5.625% Subordinated Debentures due June 1, 2060||AFGD||New York Stock Exchange|
|5.125% Subordinated Debentures due December 15, 2059||AFGC||New York Stock Exchange|
|4.50% Subordinated Debentures due September 15, 2060||AFGE||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months, and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☑ Accelerated filer ☐ Non-accelerated filer ☐
Smaller reporting company ☐ Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☑
State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter: $4.91 billion.
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the Registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date: 86,399,280 shares (excluding 14.9 million shares owned by subsidiaries) as of February 1, 2021.
Documents Incorporated by Reference:
Proxy Statement for 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (portions of which are incorporated by reference into Part III hereof).
AMERICAN FINANCIAL GROUP, INC.
INDEX TO ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
| || |
|Part I|| |
Unresolved Staff Comments
Mine Safety Disclosures
| || |
|Part II|| |
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Selected Financial Data
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Controls and Procedures
| || |
|Part III|| |
Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Principal Accounting Fees and Services
| || |
|Part IV|| |
Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
The disclosures in this Form 10-K contain certain forward-looking statements that are subject to numerous assumptions, risks or uncertainties. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor for forward-looking statements. Some of the forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “anticipates”, “believes”, “expects”, “projects”, “estimates”, “intends”, “plans”, “seeks”, “could”, “may”, “should”, “will” or the negative version of those words or other comparable terminology. Such forward-looking statements include statements relating to: expectations concerning market and other conditions and their effect on future premiums, revenues, earnings, investment activities, and the amount and timing of share repurchases; recoverability of asset values; expected losses and the adequacy of reserves for asbestos, environmental pollution and mass tort claims; rate changes; and improved loss experience.
Actual results and/or financial condition could differ materially from those contained in or implied by such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons including but not limited to the following and those discussed in Item 1A — Risk Factors.
•that AFG may be unable to complete the sale of its annuity business because, among other reasons, conditions to the closing of the proposed transaction may not be satisfied or waived, uncertainty as to the timing of completion of the proposed transaction, or failure to realize the anticipated benefits from the proposed transaction;
•changes in financial, political and economic conditions, including changes in interest and inflation rates, currency fluctuations and extended economic recessions or expansions in the U.S. and/or abroad;
•performance of securities markets, including the cost of equity index options;
•new legislation or declines in credit quality or credit ratings that could have a material impact on the valuation of securities in AFG’s investment portfolio;
•the availability of capital;
•changes in insurance law or regulation, including changes in statutory accounting rules, including modifications to capital requirements;
•the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the effects on the international and national economy and credit markets, legislative or regulatory developments affecting the insurance industry, quarantines or other travel or health-related restrictions;
•changes in the legal environment affecting AFG or its customers;
•tax law and accounting changes;
•levels of natural catastrophes and severe weather, terrorist activities (including any nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological events), incidents of war or losses resulting from civil unrest and other major losses;
•disruption caused by cyber-attacks or other technology breaches or failures by AFG or its business partners and service providers, which could negatively impact AFG’s business and/or expose AFG to litigation;
•development of insurance loss reserves and establishment of other reserves, particularly with respect to amounts associated with asbestos and environmental claims;
•availability of reinsurance and ability of reinsurers to pay their obligations;
•trends in persistency and mortality;
•the ability to obtain adequate rates and policy terms;
•changes in AFG’s credit ratings or the financial strength ratings assigned by major ratings agencies to AFG’s operating subsidiaries; and
•the impact of the conditions in the international financial markets and the global economy relating to AFG’s international operations.
The forward-looking statements herein are made only as of the date of this report. The Company assumes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements.
Item 1. Business
American Financial Group, Inc. (“AFG” or the “Company”) is an insurance holding company. Through the operations of Great American Insurance Group, AFG is engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance, focusing on specialized commercial products for businesses, and in the sale of traditional fixed and indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions, broker-dealer and registered investment advisor markets. The members of the Great American Insurance Group have been in business for nearly 150 years. Management believes that approximately 50% of the 2020 gross written premiums in AFG’s Specialty property and casualty group are produced by “top 10” ranked businesses and that AFG was also a “top ten” provider of fixed annuities in 2020, including the second largest seller of fixed-indexed annuities (“FIAs”) through financial institutions. AFG’s in-house team of investment professionals oversees the Company’s investment portfolio. On January 27, 2021, AFG entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Annuity business to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (“MassMutual”) for $3.5 billion in cash, subject to final closing adjustments. In the transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, MassMutual will acquire Great American Life Insurance Company (“GALIC”) and its two insurance subsidiaries, Annuity Investors Life Insurance Company (“AILIC”) and Manhattan National Life Insurance Company.
AFG’s address is 301 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202; its phone number is (513) 579-2121. SEC filings, news releases, AFG’s Code of Ethics applicable to directors, officers and employees, AFG’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report and other information may be accessed free of charge through AFG’s Internet site at: www.AFGinc.com. (Information on AFG’s Internet site is not part of this Form 10-K.) See Note C — “Segments of Operations” to the financial statements for information on AFG’s assets, revenues and earnings before income taxes by segment.
Building Long-Term Value for AFG Shareholders
AFG allows each of its businesses the autonomy to make decisions related to underwriting, claims and policy servicing. This entrepreneurial business model promotes agility, innovative product design, unique applications of pricing segmentation, as well as developing distribution strategies and building relationships in the markets served. Management believes that AFG’s ability to grow book value per share at a double-digit annual rate over time is evidence that the Company’s culture, business model and employee incentive plans create a compelling structure to build long-term value for AFG’s shareholders.
As highlighted in the illustration below, over the past 20 plus years, AFG has sharpened its focus on the businesses that management knows best. This has been accomplished through organic growth, carefully selected acquisitions, start-ups, and dispositions.
Timeline of Selected Start-ups, Acquisitions and Dispositions
Property and Casualty Insurance Segment
AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations provide a wide range of commercial coverages through approximately 35 insurance businesses (at December 31, 2020) that make up the Great American Insurance Group. AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations ultimately report to a single senior executive and operate under a business model that allows local decision-making for underwriting, claims and policy servicing in each of the niche operations. Each business is managed by experienced professionals in particular lines or customer groups and operates autonomously but with certain central controls and accountability. The decentralized approach allows each unit the autonomy necessary to respond to local and specialty market conditions while capitalizing on the efficiencies of centralized investment and administrative support functions. AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations had approximately 6,500 employees as of December 31, 2020. These operations are conducted through the subsidiaries listed in the following table, which includes independent financial strength ratings and 2020 gross written premiums (in millions) for each major subsidiary. These ratings are generally based on concerns for policyholders and agents and are not directed toward the protection of investors. AFG believes that maintaining a rating in the “A” category by A.M. Best is important to compete successfully in most lines of business.
|Great American Insurance|| A+|| A+||$||5,231 |
|National Interstate|| A+||not rated||796 |
|Summit (Bridgefield Casualty and Bridgefield Employers)|| A+|| A+||541 |
|Republic Indemnity|| A+|| A+||170 |
|Mid-Continent Casualty|| A+|| A+||146 |
|Other (*)||203 |
(*)Includes $92 million of gross premiums written by AFG’s Neon Lloyd’s Syndicate, which was put into run-off in December 2019 and sold in December 2020. See Note B — “Acquisitions and Sale of Businesses” to the financial statements.
The primary objectives of AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations are to achieve solid underwriting profitability and provide excellent service to its policyholders and agents. Underwriting profitability is measured by the combined ratio, which is a sum of the ratios of losses, loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”), underwriting expenses and policyholder dividends to premiums. A combined ratio under 100% indicates an underwriting profit. The combined ratio does not reflect investment income, other income, other expenses or federal income taxes.
While many costs included in underwriting are readily determined (commissions, administrative expenses and many of the losses on claims reported), the process of determining overall underwriting results is highly dependent upon the use of estimates in the case of losses incurred or expected but not yet reported or developed. Actuarial procedures and projections are used to obtain “point estimates” of ultimate losses. While the process is imprecise and develops amounts which are subject to change over time, management believes that the liabilities for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses are adequate.
Financial information is reported in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) for shareholder and other investor-related purposes and reported on a statutory basis for U.S. insurance regulatory purposes. Unless indicated otherwise, the financial information presented in this Form 10-K for AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations is presented based on GAAP. Statutory information is only prepared for AFG’s U.S.-based subsidiaries, which represented approximately 97% of AFG’s direct written premiums in 2020, and is provided for industry comparisons or where comparable GAAP information is not readily available.
Major differences for statutory accounting include charging policy acquisition costs to expense as incurred rather than spreading the costs over the periods covered by the policies; reporting investment grade bonds and redeemable preferred stocks at amortized cost rather than fair value; netting of reinsurance recoverables and prepaid reinsurance premiums against the corresponding liabilities rather than reporting such items separately; and charging to surplus certain GAAP assets, such as furniture and fixtures and agents’ balances over 90 days old.
AFG’s statutory combined ratio averaged 92.9% for the period 2011 to 2020 as compared to 100.5% for the property and casualty commercial lines industry over the same period. AFG believes that its specialty niche focus, product line diversification and underwriting discipline have contributed to the Company’s ability to consistently outperform the industry’s underwriting results. Management’s philosophy is to refrain from writing business that is not expected to produce an underwriting profit even if it is necessary to limit premium growth to do so.
(*)The sources of the commercial lines industry ratios are © 2020 Conning, Inc., as published in Conning’s Property-Casualty Forecast & Analysis by Line of Insurance (Fourth-Quarter 2020 edition, used with permission) for 2020 and © 2020 A.M. Best Company’s Review & Preview Reports for the preceding years.
Property and Casualty Results
Performance measures such as underwriting profit or loss and related combined ratios are often used by property and casualty insurers to help users of their financial statements better understand the company’s performance. See Note C — “Segments of Operations” to the financial statements for the reconciliation of AFG’s earnings before income taxes by significant business segment to the statement of earnings.
The following table shows the performance of AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations (dollars in millions):
|Gross written premiums||$||7,087 ||$||7,299 ||$||6,840 |
|Net written premiums||$||5,013 ||$||5,342 ||$||5,023 |
|Net earned premiums||$||5,099 ||$||5,185 ||$||4,865 |
|Loss and LAE||3,271 ||3,271 ||3,003 |
|Underwriting expenses||1,604 ||1,702 ||1,560 |
|Underwriting gain (a)||$||224 ||$||212 ||$||302 |
|Loss and LAE ratio||64.1 ||%||63.0 ||%||61.7 ||%|
|Underwriting expense ratio||31.4 ||%||32.8 ||%||32.1 ||%|
|Combined ratio||95.5 ||%||95.8 ||%||93.8 ||%|
|Loss and LAE ratio||60.7 ||%||61.3 ||%||60.2 ||%|
|Underwriting expense ratio||31.2 ||%||31.6 ||%||31.6 ||%|
|Combined ratio||91.9 ||%||92.9 ||%||91.8 ||%|
|Industry statutory combined ratio (b)|
|All lines||100.0 ||%||98.2 ||%||99.6 ||%|
|Commercial lines||101.7 ||%||99.9 ||%||99.7 ||%|
(a)Includes underwriting losses from Neon, which was sold in December 2020, of $135 million in 2020, $36 million in 2019 and $63 million in 2018.
(b)The sources of the industry ratios are © 2020 Conning, Inc., as published in Conning’s Property-Casualty Forecast & Analysis by Line of Insurance (Fourth-Quarter 2020 edition, used with permission) for 2020 and © 2020 A.M. Best Company’s Review & Preview Report (February 2020 Edition) for 2019 and 2018.
As with other property and casualty insurers, AFG’s operating results can be adversely affected by unpredictable catastrophe losses. Certain natural disasters (hurricanes, severe storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc.) and other incidents of major loss (explosions, civil disorder, terrorist events, fires, etc.) are classified as catastrophes by industry associations. Losses from these incidents are usually tracked separately from other business of insurers because of their sizable effects on overall operations. Total net losses to AFG’s insurance operations from current accident year catastrophes were $128 million in 2020, $60 million in 2019 and $103 million in 2018 and are included in the table above. These net losses include $37 million in 2020, $13 million in 2019 and $32 million in 2018 related to Neon’s operations. In addition to these catastrophe losses, AFG’s property and casualty operations recorded $115 million in COVID-19 related losses in 2020, including $20 million at Neon.
AFG generally seeks to reduce its exposure to catastrophes through individual risk selection, including minimizing coastal and known fault-line exposures, and through the purchase of reinsurance. AFG’s net exposure to a catastrophic earthquake or windstorm that industry models indicate should statistically occur once in every 500 years (a “500-year event”) is expected to be approximately 2% of AFG’s Shareholders’ Equity.
Property and Casualty Insurance Products
AFG is focused on growth opportunities in what it believes to be more profitable specialty businesses where AFG personnel are experts in particular lines of business or customer groups. The following are examples of AFG’s specialty businesses grouped by sub-segment:
|Property and Transportation|
|Agricultural-related||Federally reinsured multi-peril crop (allied lines) insurance covering most perils as well as crop-hail, equine mortality and other coverages for full-time operating farms/ranches and agribusiness operations on a nationwide basis.|
|Commercial Automobile||Coverage for vehicles (such as buses and trucks) in a broad range of businesses including the moving and storage and transportation industries, as well as alternative risk transfer programs, and a specialized physical damage product for the trucking industry.|
|Property, Inland Marine and Ocean Marine||Coverage primarily for commercial properties, builders’ risk, contractors’ equipment, property, motor truck cargo, marine cargo, boat dealers, marina operators/dealers and excursion vessels.|
|Excess and Surplus||Liability, umbrella and excess coverage for unique, volatile or hard to place risks, using rates and forms that generally do not have to be approved by state insurance regulators.|
|Executive and Professional Liability||Coverage for directors and officers of businesses and non-profit organizations, errors and omissions, cyber, and mergers and acquisitions.|
|General Liability||Coverage for contractor-related businesses, energy development and production risks, and environmental liability risks.|
|Targeted Programs||Coverage (primarily liability and property) for social service agencies, leisure, entertainment and non-profit organizations, customized solutions for other targeted markets and alternative risk programs using agency captives.|
|Umbrella and Excess Liability||Coverage in excess of primary layers.|
|Workers’ Compensation||Coverage for prescribed benefits payable to employees who are injured on the job.|
|Fidelity and Surety||Fidelity and crime coverage for government, mercantile and financial institutions and surety coverage for various types of contractors and public and private corporations.|
|Lease and Loan Services||Coverage for insurance risk management programs for lending and leasing institutions, including equipment leasing and collateral and lender-placed mortgage property insurance.|
Management believes specialization is the key element to the underwriting success of these business units. These specialty businesses are opportunistic and premium volume will vary based on prevailing market conditions. AFG continually evaluates expansion in existing markets and opportunities in new specialty markets that meet its profitability objectives. Likewise, AFG will withdraw from markets that do not meet its profit objectives or business strategy.
2020 SPECIALTY PROPERTY AND CASUALTY BY SUB-SEGMENT
(*)Excludes underwriting profits and losses recorded outside of AFG’s Specialty property and casualty group.
The following table shows the net written premiums by sub-segment for AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations for 2020 (excluding Neon), 2019 and 2018 (in millions):
|Property and transportation||$||1,887 ||$||1,876 ||$||1,754 |
|Specialty casualty||2,304 ||2,701 ||2,509 |
|Specialty financial||604 ||617 ||602 |
|Other specialty (*)||197 ||148 ||158 |
|$||4,992 ||$||5,342 ||$||5,023 |
(*)Premiums assumed by AFG’s internal reinsurance program from the operations that make up AFG’s Specialty property and casualty insurance sub-segments.
In addition to the premiums in the table above, the Neon exited lines had $21 million of net written premiums in 2020. Neon’s premiums were included in the Specialty Casualty sub-segment in 2019 and 2018 (prior to being put into run-off at the end of 2019).
The geographic distribution of statutory direct written premiums by AFG’s U.S.-based insurers for 2020, 2019 and 2018 is shown below. Approximately 3% of AFG’s direct written premiums in 2020 were derived from non U.S.-based insurers. In December 2019, AFG initiated actions to exit the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, which included placing its Lloyd’s subsidiaries including its Lloyd’s Managing Agency, Neon Underwriting Ltd., into run-off. In December 2020, AFG completed the sale of the legal entities comprising Neon to RiverStone Holdings Limited. Neon generated approximately 45% and 85% of the non U.S.-based direct written premiums in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
|California||13.3 ||%||13.4 ||%||13.5 ||%||New Jersey||2.3 ||%||2.5 ||%||2.6 ||%|
|Florida||9.7 ||%||10.1 ||%||10.0 ||%||Michigan||2.3 ||%||1.9 ||%||1.8 ||%|
|Texas||6.9 ||%||6.9 ||%||6.8 ||%||Kansas||2.2 ||%||2.2 ||%||2.3 ||%|
|New York||6.8 ||%||6.7 ||%||6.8 ||%||Ohio||2.2 ||%||1.9 ||%||1.7 ||%|
|Illinois||5.5 ||%||5.5 ||%||5.3 ||%||Indiana||2.1 ||%||2.0 ||%||1.9 ||%|
|Georgia||3.5 ||%||3.3 ||%||3.3 ||%||North Carolina||2.1 ||%||2.0 ||%||2.1 ||%|
|Pennsylvania||2.6 ||%||2.6 ||%||2.5 ||%||Other||36.1 ||%||36.4 ||%||36.9 ||%|
|Missouri||2.4 ||%||2.6 ||%||2.5 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
Consistent with standard practice of most insurance companies, AFG reinsures a portion of its property and casualty business with other insurance companies and assumes a relatively small amount of business from other insurers. AFG uses reinsurance for two primary purposes: (i) to provide higher limits of coverage than it would otherwise be willing to provide (i.e. large line capacity) and (ii) to protect its business by reducing the impact of catastrophes. The availability and cost of reinsurance are subject to prevailing market conditions, which may affect the volume and profitability of business that is written. AFG is subject to credit risk with respect to its reinsurers, as the ceding of risk to reinsurers does not relieve AFG of its liability to its insureds until claims are fully settled.
Reinsurance is provided on either a facultative or treaty basis. Facultative reinsurance is generally provided on a risk-by-risk basis. Individual risks are ceded and assumed based on an offer and acceptance of risk by each party to the transaction. AFG purchases facultative reinsurance, both pro rata and excess of loss, depending on the risk and available reinsurance markets. Treaty reinsurance provides for risks meeting prescribed criteria to be automatically ceded and assumed according to contract provisions.
Catastrophe Reinsurance AFG has taken steps to limit its exposure to wind and earthquake losses through individual risk selection, including minimizing coastal and known fault-line exposures, and purchasing catastrophe reinsurance. In addition, AFG purchases catastrophe reinsurance for its workers’ compensation businesses. Although the cost of catastrophe reinsurance varies depending on exposure and the level of worldwide loss activity, AFG continues to obtain reinsurance coverage in adequate amounts at acceptable rates.
In January 2021, AFG’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries renewed substantially all of their catastrophe reinsurance coverages. For AFG’s U.S.-based operations, the Company continued to place $85 million of coverage in excess of a $15 million per event primary retention in the traditional reinsurance markets. In addition, AFG’s U.S.-based operations have a $50 million layer of coverage in excess of $100 million in catastrophe losses that will be up for renewal in June 2021.
In addition to traditional reinsurance, AFG had catastrophe coverage through a catastrophe bond structure with Riverfront Re Ltd. from June 1, 2017 through January 15, 2021. AFG expects to place a new catastrophe bond in the first six months of 2021.
The commercial marketplace requires large policy limits ($25 million or more) in several of AFG’s lines of business, including certain property, environmental, aviation, executive and professional liability, umbrella and excess liability, and fidelity and surety coverages. Since these limits exceed management’s desired exposure to an individual risk, AFG generally enters into reinsurance agreements to reduce its net exposure under such policies to an acceptable level. Reinsurance continues to be available for this large line capacity exposure with satisfactory pricing and terms.
In addition to the catastrophe and large line capacity reinsurance programs discussed above, AFG purchases reinsurance on a product-by-product basis. AFG regularly reviews the financial strength of its current and potential reinsurers. These reviews include consideration of credit ratings, available capital, claims paying history and expertise. This process periodically results in the transfer of risks to more financially secure reinsurers. Substantially all reinsurance is ceded to companies with investment grade S&P ratings or is secured by “funds withheld” or other collateral. Under “funds withheld” arrangements, AFG retains ceded premiums to fund ceded losses as they become due from the reinsurer. Recoverables from the following companies were individually between 5% and 12% of AFG’s total property and casualty reinsurance recoverable (including prepaid reinsurance premiums and net of payables to reinsurers) at December 31, 2020: Everest Reinsurance Company, Hannover Rueck SE, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation and Transatlantic Reinsurance Company. In addition, AFG has a reinsurance recoverable from Ohio Casualty Insurance Company of $130 million related to that company’s purchase of AFG’s commercial lines business in 1998. No other reinsurers exceeded 5% of AFG’s property and casualty reinsurance recoverable.
The following table presents (by type of coverage) the amount of each loss above the specified retention covered by treaty reinsurance programs in AFG’s U.S.-based property and casualty insurance operations (in millions) as of January 1, 2021:
|Primary||Coverage||AFG Participation (a)||Maximum|
|California Workers’ Compensation||$||2 ||$||148 ||1 ||%||$||1 ||$||3 |
|Summit Workers’ Compensation||3 ||37 ||— ||%||— ||3 |
|Other Workers’ Compensation||2 ||48 ||3 ||%||1 ||3 |
|Commercial Umbrella||2 ||48 ||10 ||%||5 ||7 |
|Property — General||5 ||45 ||— ||%||— ||5 |
|Property — Catastrophe (c)||15 ||135 ||7 ||%||9 ||24 |
(a)Includes the participation of AFG’s internal reinsurance program.
(b)Maximum loss per event for claims up to reinsurance coverage limit.
(c)Although AFG’s maximum potential loss per event is generally $15 million, there are certain unlikely scenarios where AFG’s exposure could be as high as $24 million.
In addition to the coverage shown above, AFG reinsures a portion of its crop insurance business through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (“FCIC”). The FCIC offers both proportional (or “quota share”) and non-proportional coverages. The proportional coverage provides that a fixed percentage of risk is assumed by the FCIC. The non-proportional coverage allows AFG to select desired retention of risk on a state-by-state, county, crop or plan basis. AFG typically reinsures 15% to 25% of gross written premiums with the FCIC. AFG also purchases quota share reinsurance in the private market. This
quota share provides for a ceding commission to AFG and a profit-sharing provision. During both 2020 and 2019, AFG reinsured 50% of premiums not reinsured by the FCIC in the private market and purchased stop loss protection coverage for the remaining portion of the business. In 2021, AFG expects to reinsure 50% of the premiums not reinsured by the FCIC in the private market.
The balance sheet caption “Recoverables from reinsurers — Property and casualty insurance” included approximately $171 million on paid losses and LAE and $3.12 billion on unpaid losses and LAE at December 31, 2020. These amounts are net of allowances of approximately $6 million for expected credit losses on reinsurance recoverables. The collectability of a reinsurance balance is based upon the financial condition of a reinsurer as well as individual claim considerations.
Reinsurance premiums ceded and assumed are presented in the following table (in millions):
|Reinsurance ceded||$||2,074 ||$||1,957 ||$||1,817 |
|Reinsurance ceded, excluding crop||1,483 ||1,371 ||1,202 |
|Reinsurance assumed — including involuntary pools and associations||225 ||255 ||214 |
Loss and Loss Adjustment Expense Reserves
The consolidated financial statements include the estimated liability for unpaid losses and LAE of AFG’s insurance subsidiaries. This liability represents estimates of the ultimate net cost of all unpaid losses and LAE and is determined by using case-basis evaluations, actuarial projections and management’s judgment. These estimates are subject to the effects of changes in claim amounts and frequency and are periodically reviewed and adjusted as additional information becomes known. In accordance with industry practices, such adjustments are reflected in current year operations. Generally, reserves for reinsurance assumed and involuntary pools and associations are reflected in AFG’s results at the amounts reported by those entities. See Note P — “Insurance — Property and Casualty Insurance Reserves” to the financial statements for information on the development of AFG’s liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses by accident year as well as a progression of the liability on a GAAP basis over the past three years.
A reconciliation of the liability for losses and LAE reported in the annual statements filed with the state insurance departments in accordance with statutory accounting principles (“SAP”) to the liability reported in the accompanying consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP at December 31, 2020 follows (in millions):
|Liability reported on a SAP basis, net of $108 million of retroactive reinsurance||$||6,958 |
|Reinsurance recoverables, net of allowance||3,117 |
|Other, including reserves of foreign insurers||317 |
|Liability reported on a GAAP basis||$||10,392 |
Asbestos and Environmental-related (“A&E”) Insurance Reserves AFG’s property and casualty group, like many others in the industry, has A&E claims arising in most cases from general liability policies written more than thirty years ago. The establishment of reserves for such A&E claims presents unique and difficult challenges and is subject to uncertainties significantly greater than those presented by other types of claims. For a discussion of these uncertainties, see Item 7 — Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — “Uncertainties — Asbestos and Environmental-related (“A&E”) Insurance Reserves” and Note N — “Contingencies” to the financial statements.
The following table (in millions) is a progression of the property and casualty group’s A&E reserves.
|Reserves at beginning of year||$||383 ||$||395 ||$||403 |
|Incurred losses and LAE||47 ||18 ||18 |
|Paid losses and LAE||(8)||(30)||(26)|
|Reserves at end of year, net of reinsurance recoverable||422 ||383 ||395 |
|Reinsurance recoverable, net of allowance||150 ||146 ||129 |
|Gross reserves at end of year||$||572 ||$||529 ||$||524 |
In addition to its ongoing internal monitoring of asbestos and environmental exposures, AFG has periodically conducted comprehensive external studies of its asbestos and environmental reserves relating to the run-off operations of its property and casualty insurance segment and exposures related to its former railroad and manufacturing operations with the aid of specialty actuarial, engineering and consulting firms and outside counsel, with an in-depth internal review during
the intervening years. AFG has historically conducted an external study every two years. AFG is currently evaluating the frequency of future external studies.
A comprehensive external study of AFG’s A&E reserves was completed in the third quarter of 2020 with the aid of specialty actuarial, engineering and consulting firms and outside counsel. As a result of the external study, AFG’s property and casualty insurance segment recorded a $47 million pretax special charge to increase its asbestos reserves by $26 million (net of reinsurance) and its environmental reserves by $21 million (net of reinsurance). Over the past few years, the focus of AFG’s asbestos claims litigation has shifted to smaller companies and companies with ancillary exposures. AFG’s insureds with these exposures have been the driver of the property and casualty segment’s asbestos reserve increases in recent years. AFG is seeing modestly increasing estimates for indemnity and defense compared to prior studies on certain specific open claims.
The increase in property and casualty environmental reserves in 2020 (as well as in 2019 and 2018) was primarily associated with updated estimates of site investigation and remedial costs with respect to existing sites and newly identified sites. AFG has updated its view of legal defense costs on open environmental claims as well as a number of claims and sites where the estimated investigation and remediation costs have increased. As in past years, there were no new or emerging broad industry trends that were identified in this review.
As a result of the in-depth internal review completed in the third quarter of 2019, AFG’s property and casualty insurance segment recorded an $18 million pretax special charge to increase its asbestos reserves by $3 million (net of reinsurance) and its environmental reserves by $15 million (net of reinsurance).
As a result of the in-depth internal review of AFG’s A&E reserves completed in the third quarter of 2018, AFG’s property and casualty insurance segment recorded an $18 million pretax special charge to increase its asbestos reserves by $6 million (net of reinsurance) and its environmental reserves by $12 million (net of reinsurance).
The property and casualty insurance group directs its sales efforts primarily through independent insurance agents and brokers, although small portions are written through employee agents. Independent agents and brokers generally receive a commission on the sale of each policy. Some agents and brokers are eligible for a bonus commission based on the overall profitability of policies or volume of business placed with AFG by the broker or agent in a particular year. The property and casualty insurance group writes insurance through several thousand agents and brokers.
AFG’s property and casualty insurance businesses compete with other individual insurers, state funds and insurance groups of varying sizes, some of which are mutual insurance companies possessing competitive advantages in that all their profits inure to their policyholders. See Item 1A — Risk Factors. AFG also competes with self-insurance plans, captive programs and risk retention groups. Due to the specialty nature of these coverages, competition is based primarily on service to policyholders and agents, specific characteristics of products offered and reputation for claims handling. Financial strength ratings, price, commissions and profit-sharing terms are also important factors. Management believes that sophisticated data analysis for refinement of risk profiles, extensive specialized knowledge and loss prevention service have helped AFG compete successfully.
On January 27, 2021 AFG reached an agreement to sell its annuity subsidiaries to MassMutual in a transaction that is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
AFG’s annuity business is focused on the sale of fixed and indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions, broker-dealer and registered investment advisor markets through independent producers and through direct relationships with certain financial institutions. The Company has a long history in the annuities industry, long-term agent relationships and a reputation for simple, consumer-friendly products. Disciplined product management and operations have enabled AFG to maintain a consistent crediting rate strategy and low-cost structure. AFG’s annuity products are designed to be simple and easy to understand. Lower upfront commissions and bonuses as compared to many competitors allow the Company to pay higher annual crediting rates. In the current low interest rate environment, management is focused on earning the appropriate returns on AFG’s products rather than growing premiums. The annuity operations had approximately 600 employees at December 31, 2020.
AFG’s annuity operations are conducted primarily through the subsidiaries listed in the following table, which includes 2020 statutory annuity premiums (in millions), annuity policies in force and independent ratings.
|Company||Premiums||In Force||AM Best||S&P|
|Great American Life Insurance Company||$||3,474 ||371,000 ||A+||A+|
|Annuity Investors Life Insurance Company||121 ||102,000 ||A+||A+|
AFG believes that the ratings assigned by independent insurance rating agencies are an important competitive factor because agents, potential policyholders and financial institutions often use a company’s rating as an initial screening device in considering annuity products. AFG believes that a rating in the “A” category by at least one rating agency is necessary to successfully compete in its primary annuity markets. In the fourth quarter of 2020, AM Best upgraded the ratings of GALIC and AILIC from A (Excellent) to A+ (Superior), its second highest rating.
In February 2020, GALIC entered into a flow reinsurance agreement with Commonwealth Annuity and Life Insurance Company (“Commonwealth”), a subsidiary of Global Atlantic Financial Group, Limited. Under the terms of the agreement, GALIC cedes certain newly issued traditional fixed and indexed annuities on a quota share coinsurance basis with such quota share percentages being up to 50%. That agreement was effective for policies issued after May 6, 2020. Under accounting guidance, the reinsurance transaction will be accounted for using the deposit method.
In October 2020, GALIC entered into a block reinsurance agreement with Commonwealth. Under the terms of the agreement, GALIC ceded approximately $5.96 billion of in force traditional fixed and indexed annuities, representing approximately 15% of its in force business, and transferred related investments to Commonwealth. GALIC realized pretax gains of $369 million (net of deferred policy acquisition costs) from the transfer of securities in this transaction. The reinsurance transaction will be accounted for using the deposit method and the $180 million loss on the transaction will be deferred and recognized over the expected life of the underlying annuity contracts (7-10 years). Under both the flow and block reinsurance agreements, Commonwealth is required to maintain collateral in trusts in excess of amounts owed to GALIC.
Due to the deposit-type nature of annuities, annuity premiums received and benefit payments are recorded as increases or decreases in the annuity benefits accumulated liability rather than as revenue and expense under GAAP. Statutory premiums of AFG’s annuity operations for the last three years were as follows (in millions):
| ||Statutory Premiums|
|Financial institutions single premium annuities — indexed||$||1,372 ||$||1,537 ||$||1,776 |
|Financial institutions single premium annuities — fixed||896 ||1,229 ||492 |
|Retail single premium annuities — indexed||591 ||943 ||1,418 |
|Retail single premium annuities — fixed||99 ||120 ||87 |
|Broker dealer single premium annuities — indexed||457 ||657 ||1,271 |
|Broker dealer single premium annuities — fixed||27 ||32 ||14 |
|Pension risk transfer||499 ||257 ||132 |
|Education market — fixed and indexed annuities||129 ||164 ||192 |
|Total fixed annuity premiums||4,070 ||4,939 ||5,382 |
|Variable annuities||17 ||21 ||25 |
|Total gross annuity premiums||4,087 ||4,960 ||5,407 |
|Ceded Premiums||(492)||— ||— |
|Total net annuity premiums||$||3,595 ||$||4,960 ||$||5,407 |
Annuities are long-term retirement saving instruments that benefit from income accruing on a tax-deferred basis. The issuer of the annuity collects premiums, credits interest or earnings on the policy and pays out a benefit upon death, surrender or annuitization. Single premium annuities are generally issued in exchange for a one-time, lump-sum premium payment. Certain annuities, primarily in the education market, have premium payments that are flexible in both amount and timing as determined by the policyholder and are generally made through payroll deductions.
Annuity contracts are generally classified as either fixed rate (including indexed) or variable. With a traditional fixed rate annuity, AFG seeks to maintain a desired spread between the yield on its investment portfolio and the rate it credits to policyholders. AFG accomplishes this by: (i) offering crediting rates that it has the option to change after any initial guarantee period (subject to minimum interest rate and other contractual guarantees); (ii) designing annuity products that encourage persistency; and (iii) maintaining an appropriate matching of the duration of assets and liabilities.
An indexed annuity provides policyholders with the opportunity to receive a crediting rate tied, in part, to the performance of an existing stock market or other financial index (generally the S&P 500) or other external rate, price, or unit value (an “index”). A fixed-indexed annuity protects against the related downside risk through a guarantee of principal (excluding surrender charges, market value adjustments, and certain benefit charges). In 2018, AFG began offering variable-indexed annuities, which are similar to fixed-indexed annuities except that the product offers greater upside participation in the selected index as compared to a fixed-indexed annuity and replaces the guarantee of principal in a fixed-indexed annuity with a guaranteed maximum loss. AFG purchases and sells call and put options designed to substantially offset the effect of the index participation in the liabilities associated with indexed annuities.
As an accommodation in its education market, AFG offers a limited amount of variable annuities. With a variable annuity, the earnings credited to the policy vary based on the investment results of the underlying investment options chosen by the policyholder, generally without any guarantee of principal except in the case of death of the insured. Premiums directed to the underlying investment options maintained in separate accounts are invested in funds managed by various independent investment managers. AFG earns a fee on amounts deposited into separate accounts. Subject to contractual provisions, policyholders may also choose to direct all or a portion of their premiums to various fixed-rate options, in which case AFG earns a spread on amounts deposited.
The profitability of a fixed annuity business is largely dependent on the ability of a company to earn income on the assets supporting the business in excess of the amounts credited to policyholder accounts plus expenses incurred (earning a “spread”). Performance measures such as net spread earned are often presented by annuity businesses to help users of their financial statements better understand the company’s performance. The following table shows the earnings before income taxes, as well as the net spread earned on fixed annuities, for the annuity segment both before and after the impact of reinsurance, unlocking, changes in the fair value of derivatives and other impacts of the changes in the stock market and interest rates on annuity segment results (dollars in millions):
|Year ended December 31,|
|Annuity earnings before income taxes — before the impact of reinsurance, unlocking, derivatives related to FIAs and other impacts of stock market performance and interest rates on FIAs||$||359 ||$||409 ||$||409 |
|Reinsurance||(47)||— ||— |
|Impact of derivatives related to FIAs and other impacts of changes in the stock market and interest rates on FIAs over or under option costs (a):|
|Change in fair value of derivatives related to FIAs||(279)||(294)||(51)|
|Accretion of guaranteed minimum FIA benefits||(404)||(408)||(347)|
|Other annuity benefits||(60)||(14)||(83)|
|Less cost of equity options||562 ||586 ||506 |
|Related impact on the amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs (b)||86 ||84 ||(42)|
|Annuity segment earnings before income taxes||$||171 ||$||362 ||$||361 |
|Net spread earned on fixed annuities — before impact of reinsurance, unlocking, changes in the fair value of derivatives related to FIAs and other impacts of changes in the stock market and interest rates on FIAs||0.91 ||%||1.08 ||%||1.20 ||%|
|Impact of changes in fair value of derivatives related to FIAs and other impacts of the stock market and interest rates under (over) option costs||(0.24 ||%)||(0.12 ||%)||(0.04 ||%)|
|Reinsurance||(0.12 ||%)||— ||%||— ||%|
|Unlocking||(0.12 ||%)||— ||%||(0.09 ||%)|
|Net spread earned on fixed annuities||0.43 ||%||0.96 ||%||1.07 ||%|
(a)FIAs provide policyholders with a crediting rate tied, in part, to the performance of an existing stock market or other financial index. AFG attempts to mitigate the risk in the index-based component of these products through the purchase and sale of call and put options on the appropriate index. AFG’s strategy is designed so that the net change in the fair value of the call option assets and put option liabilities will generally offset the economic change in the net liability from the index participation. Both the index-based component of the annuities (an embedded derivative with a fair value of $3.93 billion at December 31, 2020) and the related call and put options (net fair value of $820 million at December 31, 2020) are considered derivatives that must be adjusted for changes in fair value through earnings each period. The fair values of these derivatives are impacted by actual and expected stock market performance and interest rates as well as other factors. Fluctuations in certain of these factors, such as changes in interest rates and the performance of the stock market, are not economic in nature for the current reporting period, but rather impact the timing of reported results.
(b)An estimate of the related acceleration/deceleration of the amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs and deferred sales inducements.
AFG sells its single premium annuities, excluding financial institution production (discussed below), primarily through a retail network of approximately 50 national marketing organizations (“NMOs”) and managing general agents (“MGAs”) who, in turn, direct over 500 actively producing agents.
AFG also sells single premium annuities in financial institutions through direct relationships with certain financial institutions and through independent agents and brokers. The table below highlights the percentage of AFG’s total gross annuity premiums generated through its top five financial institution relationships (ranked based on 2020 statutory premiums):
|Wells Fargo & Company||11.9 ||%||12.0 ||%||7.4 ||%|
|The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.||9.0 ||%||8.8 ||%||6.6 ||%|
|Regions Financial Corporation||7.4 ||%||6.7 ||%||4.8 ||%|
|LPL Financial||4.4 ||%||4.4 ||%||4.8 ||%|
|BB&T Corporation||3.5 ||%||5.1 ||%||3.7 ||%|
AFG’s annuity businesses operate in highly competitive markets. They compete with other insurers and financial institutions based on many factors, including: (i) ratings; (ii) financial strength; (iii) reputation; (iv) service to policyholders and agents; (v) product design (including interest rates credited, bonus features and index participation); and (vi) commissions. Since most policies are marketed and distributed through independent agents, the insurance companies must also compete for agents.
No single insurer dominates the markets in which AFG’s annuity businesses compete. See Item 1A — Risk Factors. AFG’s competitors include (i) individual insurers and insurance groups, (ii) mutual funds and (iii) other financial institutions. In a broader sense, AFG’s annuity businesses compete for retirement savings with a variety of financial institutions offering a full range of financial services. In the financial institution annuity market, AFG’s annuities compete directly against competitors’ annuities, certificates of deposit and other investment alternatives at the point of sale. In addition, over the last few years, several offshore and/or hedge fund companies have made significant acquisitions of annuity businesses, resulting in annuity groups that are larger in size than AFG’s annuity business.
Sales of annuities, including renewal premiums, are affected by many factors, including: (i) competitive annuity products and rates; (ii) the general level and volatility of interest rates, including the slope of the yield curve; (iii) the favorable tax treatment of annuities; (iv) commissions paid to agents; (v) services offered; (vi) ratings from independent insurance rating agencies; (vii) other alternative investments; (viii) performance and volatility of the equity markets; (ix) media coverage of annuities; (x) regulatory developments regarding suitability and the sales process; and (xi) general economic conditions.
AFG ceased new sales of long-term care insurance in January 2010 and sold substantially all of its run-off long-term care business in December 2015. The legal entities sold in 2015, United Teacher Associates Insurance Company and Continental General Insurance Company, contained substantially all of AFG’s long-term care insurance reserves (96% as measured by net statutory reserves as of November 30, 2015), as well as smaller blocks of annuity and life insurance business. Renewal premiums on the remaining small block of long-term care policies (which are guaranteed renewable) covering approximately 1,500 lives will be accepted unless those policies lapse. At December 31, 2020, AFG’s long-term care insurance reserves were $52 million, net of reinsurance recoverables and excluding the impact of unrealized gains on securities.
Although AFG no longer actively markets new life insurance products, it continues to service and receive renewal premiums on its in force block of approximately 80,000 policies and $8.33 billion gross ($2.91 billion net of reinsurance) of life insurance in force at December 31, 2020. Renewal premiums, net of reinsurance, were $20 million in 2020, $22 million in 2019 and $21 million in 2018. At December 31, 2020, AFG’s life insurance reserves were $280 million, net of reinsurance recoverables.
On January 27, 2021, AFG entered into a definitive agreement to sell its annuity subsidiaries in a transaction that is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. In addition to AFG’s annuity segment, the subsidiaries to be sold include AFG’s run-off life and long-term care operations discussed above.
Through subsidiaries, AFG is engaged in a variety of other operations, including commercial real estate operations in Cincinnati (office buildings), Whitefield, New Hampshire (Mountain View Grand Resort), Chesapeake Bay (Skipjack Cove Yachting Resort and Bay Bridge Marina), Charleston (Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina) and Palm Beach (Sailfish Marina and Resort). These operations employed approximately 200 full-time employees at December 31, 2020.
Human Capital Resources
AFG’s principal goal is for all employees to feel included, respected, safe and empowered to perform at their best. AFG helps employees succeed by cultivating specialized knowledge, professional education and leadership development in a service-oriented culture. AFG respects human rights, appreciates diversity and values the unique perspective each employee brings to the workplace. AFG operates with integrity and self-discipline in an environment that values clear and open communication and where the importance of family, community and work-life balance are priorities.
When employees feel actively engaged with AFG’s mission and strategy, they deliver higher levels of service to its customers and create stronger bottom-line results for its business. AFG strives to attract diverse and exceptional people who can grow by fostering a workplace culture that inspires and rewards people and by developing a workforce that can meet the Company’s current and future goals.
AFG offers training programs that encourage people to build careers in insurance and develop professional skills that positively impact employees’ careers as well as AFG’s customers and business. These include tuition reimbursement programs, monetary incentives and extensive personal and professional learning opportunities. AFG believes that professional development is one of many reasons why its average employee tenure exceeds industry averages.
As part of managing AFG’s business responsibly and supporting its employees to be at their best — away from work as well as on the job — AFG provides a competitive benefits package that includes an extensive wellness program. AFG offers onsite fitness centers at many of its locations, financial incentives for taking care of one’s health and health management programs to increase employees’ engagement with their healthcare providers. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AFG implemented changes that it considered to be in the best interest of its employees by seamlessly activating business continuity plans, including work-from-home capabilities, alternate work locations and additional remote work options so that its employees continued to work in an uninterrupted manner and operations remained fully functional.
See the Corporate Social Responsibility Report located on AFG’s website for more information regarding human capital programs and initiatives. None of the information provided on the website is incorporated into, or deemed to be a part of, this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC.
AFG’s in-house team of investment professionals have followed a consistent strategy over many years and changing economic conditions. Management believes that AFG’s investment expertise has been the driver of strong investment results and effective portfolio risk management over many years.
The allocation of AFG’s $52.50 billion investment portfolio at December 31, 2020 is shown below.
On January 27, 2021, AFG entered into a definitive agreement to sell its annuity subsidiaries in a transaction that is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. Approximately $39.69 billion of AFG’s investments at December 31, 2020 are held by AFG’s annuity subsidiaries and will be disposed of in the pending sale. The allocation of AFG’s $12.96 billion investment portfolio, excluding the assets to be disposed is shown below:
For additional information on AFG’s investments, see Note E — “Investments” to the financial statements and Item 7 — Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — “Investments.” AFG’s earned yield (net investment income divided by average invested assets) on fixed maturities was 4.2% for 2020 and 4.4% for both 2019 and 2018.
The table below compares total returns, which include changes in fair value, on AFG’s fixed maturities and common stocks and equivalents to comparable public indices. While there are no directly comparable indices to AFG’s portfolio, the two shown below are widely used benchmarks in the financial services industry.
|Total return on AFG’s fixed maturities||6.6 ||%||8.7 ||%||1.3 ||%|
|Barclays Capital U.S. Universal Bond Index||7.6 ||%||9.3 ||%||(0.3 ||%)|
|Total return on AFG’s common stocks and equivalents||(1.8 ||%)||26.0 ||%||(12.0 ||%)|
|Standard & Poor’s 500 Index||18.4 ||%||31.5 ||%||(4.4 ||%)|
AFG’s bond portfolio is invested primarily in taxable bonds. The following table shows AFG’s available for sale fixed maturity investments by Standard & Poor’s Corporation or comparable rating as of December 31, 2020 (dollars in millions).
|Cost, net (*)||Amount||%|
|S&P or comparable rating|
|AAA, AA, A||$||23,674 ||$||25,059 ||59 ||%|
|BBB||11,938 ||13,155 ||30 ||%|
|Total investment grade||35,612 ||38,214 ||89 ||%|
|BB||869 ||885 ||2 ||%|
|B||266 ||264 ||1 ||%|
|CCC, CC, C||478 ||542 ||1 ||%|
|D||142 ||166 ||— ||%|
|Total non-investment grade||1,755 ||1,857 ||4 ||%|
|Not rated||3,001 ||3,136 ||7 ||%|
|Total||$||40,368 ||$||43,207 ||100 ||%|
(*)Amortized cost, net of allowance for expected credit losses.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) has retained third-party investment management firms to assist in the determination of appropriate NAIC designations for mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) based not only on the probability of loss (which is the primary basis of ratings by the major ratings firms), but also on the severity of loss and statutory carrying value. Approximately 9% of AFG’s fixed maturity investments are MBS. At December 31, 2020, 97% (based on statutory carrying value of $40.37 billion) of AFG’s fixed maturity investments held by its insurance companies had an NAIC designation of 1 or 2 (the highest of the six designations).
AFG’s insurance company subsidiaries are subject to regulation in the jurisdictions where they do business. In general, the insurance laws of the various states establish regulatory agencies with broad administrative powers governing, among other things, premium rates, solvency standards, licensing of insurers, agents and brokers, trade practices, forms of policies, maintenance of specified reserves and capital for the protection of policyholders, deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders, investment activities and relationships between insurance subsidiaries and their parents and affiliates. Material transactions between insurance subsidiaries and their parents and affiliates generally must receive prior approval of the applicable insurance regulatory authorities and be disclosed. In addition, while differing from state to state, these regulations typically restrict the maximum amount of dividends that may be paid by an insurer to its shareholders in any twelve-month period without advance regulatory approval. Such limitations are generally based on net earnings or statutory surplus. Under applicable restrictions, the maximum amount of dividends available to AFG in 2021 from its insurance subsidiaries without seeking regulatory approval is approximately $705 million.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”), among other things, established a Federal Insurance Office (“FIO”) within the U.S. Treasury. Under this law, regulations will need to be created for the FIO to carry out its mandate to focus on systemic risk oversight. Since its formation, the FIO has worked with the NAIC and other stakeholders to explore a hybrid approach to regulation of the insurance industry; however, the state-based system of regulation has largely been retained. AFG cannot predict the future role of the FIO and its role in regulation of the insurance industry and how that might ultimately affect AFG’s operations.
Most states have created insurance guaranty associations that assess solvent insurers to pay claims of insurance companies that become insolvent. Annual guaranty assessments for AFG’s insurance companies have not been material.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
In addition to the other information set forth in this report, particularly information under “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” the following are the material factors affecting AFG’s business. Any one of these factors could cause AFG’s actual results to vary materially from recent results or from anticipated future results. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to AFG or that AFG currently deems to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect AFG’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
RISKS RELATING TO ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND GLOBAL MARKET CONDITIONS
General economic, financial market and political conditions and conditions in the markets in which we operate may materially adversely affect our investment portfolio, results of operations, financial condition and stock price.
General economic, financial market and political conditions and conditions in the markets in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. Limited availability of credit, deteriorations of the global mortgage and real estate markets, declines in consumer confidence and consumer spending, increases in prices or in the rate of inflation, periods of high unemployment, persistently low or rapidly increasing interest rates, disruptive geopolitical events and other events outside of our control, such as a major epidemic or a continuation or worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic or another pandemic, could contribute to increased volatility and diminished expectations for the economy and the financial markets, including the value of our investment portfolio and the market for our stock. In addition, our investment portfolio includes alternative investments which are marked-to-market through earnings. These investments may be adversely impacted by economic volatility, including real estate market deterioration, which could impact our net investment returns and result in an adverse impact on operating results.
A significant majority of AFG’s investment portfolio consists of fixed maturity investments, and changes in global economic conditions, including interest rates, could have a material adverse effect on AFG’s results of operations and financial condition.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately 82% of AFG’s investment portfolio holdings consisted of fixed maturity investments that are sensitive to changes in interest rates. Changes in interest rates may materially adversely affect the performance of some of our investments, including by materially reducing the fair value of and net investment income from fixed maturities and increasing unrealized losses in our investment portfolio. The value of AFG’s fixed maturity investments is also subject to credit risk as certain investments may default or become impaired due to deterioration in the financial condition of issuers of those investments.
Interest rates have remained at historical lows for an extended period. In addition, central banks in some countries have pursued largely unprecedented negative interest rate policies in recent years, the consequences of which are uncertain. The continuation of the current low interest rate environment or a deflationary environment with negative interest rates could affect business behavior in ways that are adverse to AFG and could constrict AFG’s net investment income.
As of December 31, 2020, mortgage-backed securities constituted approximately 9% of AFG’s fixed maturity portfolio. In addition to the risks applicable to the entire fixed maturity investment portfolio, changes in interest rates can expose AFG to prepayment risks on mortgage-backed securities. In periods of declining interest rates, mortgage prepayments generally increase and mortgage-backed securities are paid down more quickly, requiring AFG to reinvest the proceeds at the then current market rates, which may be lower than on the securities repaid.
AFG’s alternative investments may be illiquid and volatile in terms of value and returns, which could negatively affect AFG’s investment income and liquidity.
In addition to fixed maturity securities, AFG has invested, and may from time to time continue to invest in alternative investments such as limited partnerships and subordinate tranches of collateralized loan obligations. These and other similar investments may have different, more significant risk characteristics than investments in fixed maturity securities, may be more volatile and may be illiquid due to restrictions on sales, transfers and redemption terms, all of which could negatively affect AFG’s investment income and overall portfolio liquidity.
AFG has also invested, and from time to time may continue to make investments in limited partnerships and other entities that AFG does not control. AFG does not have management or operational control over the investees which may limit
AFG’s ability to take actions that could protect or increase the value of the investment. In addition, these investments may be illiquid due to contractual provisions, and AFG may be unable to obtain liquidity through distributions from these investments in a timely manner or on favorable terms.
Alternative or “other” investments may not meet regulatory admissibility requirements or may result in increased regulatory capital charges to the insurance subsidiaries that hold these investments, which could limit those subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends and negatively impact AFG’s liquidity.
Changes in interest rates could adversely affect the results of operations of AFG’s annuity segment.
The profitability of AFG’s annuity segment is largely dependent on the spread between what it earns on its investments and the crediting rate it pays on its annuity contracts plus expenses incurred.
Both rising and declining interest rates can negatively affect AFG’s annuity results. Most of AFG’s annuity products have guaranteed minimum crediting rates. Although AFG could reduce the average crediting rate on a substantial portion of its traditional fixed and indexed annuities during periods of low or falling interest rates, AFG may not be able to fully offset the decline in investment earnings with lower crediting rates.
During periods of rising interest rates, AFG may experience competitive pressure to increase crediting rates to avoid a decline in sales or increased surrenders, thus resulting in lower spreads. In addition, an increase in surrenders could require the sale of investments at a time when the prices of those assets are lower due to the increase in market rates, which may result in realized investment losses.
The modification or elimination of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate may adversely affect AFG’s results of operations.
The modification or elimination of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), a long-standing benchmark interest rate for floating-rate financial contracts, may adversely affect the interest rates on and fair value of AFG’s floating rate investments, interest rate swaps, Federal Home Loan Bank advances and any other assets or liabilities whose value is tied to LIBOR. In addition, the majority of the assets and liabilities of the collateralized loan obligations that AFG manages and consolidates are tied to LIBOR. On July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, initially announced that it has commitments from panel banks to submit rates to LIBOR through the end of 2021 but will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. Subsequent to such announcement, on November 30, 2020, the ICE Benchmark Administrator announced a plan to extend reporting of most U.S. Dollar-based LIBOR tenors to June 30, 2023. Even with this extension, it remains unclear if, how and in what form, LIBOR will continue to exist after June 30, 2023. Proposals for alternative reference rates for dollars and other currencies have been announced or have already begun publication and contractual provisions relating to alternative rates following the cessation of LIBOR are actively being included in documentation. The State of New York has also proposed legislation which would provide for an alternative rate to LIBOR for contracts which do not include provisions relating to LIBOR cessation. Markets are slowly developing in response to these new rates but questions around liquidity in these alternative reference rates and how to appropriately adjust these alternative reference rates to eliminate any economic value transfer at the time of transition persist. In addition, in certain cases, it is difficult to amend existing contracts to include LIBOR replacement provisions and there are no assurances that a legislative solution will be passed or enforceable. At this time, AFG cannot predict the overall effect of the modification or elimination of LIBOR or the establishment of alternative benchmark rates.
Adverse developments in the financial markets may limit AFG’s access to capital.
Financial markets in the U.S. and elsewhere can experience extreme volatility, which exerts downward pressure on stock prices and limits access to the equity and debt markets for certain issuers, including AFG. While AFG can borrow up to $500 million under its revolving credit facility, AFG’s access to funds through this facility is dependent on the ability of its banks to meet their funding commitments. There were no borrowings outstanding under AFG’s bank credit line or any other parent company short-term borrowing arrangements during 2020. If AFG cannot obtain adequate capital or sources of credit on favorable terms, or at all, its business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.
RISKS RELATING TO OUR INSURANCE OPERATIONS, DISTRIBUTION AND PRODUCTS
Intense competition could adversely affect AFG’s results of operations.
The property and casualty insurance segment operates in a highly competitive industry that is affected by many factors that can cause significant fluctuations in its results of operations. The lines of business in this segment compete with other individual insurers, state funds and insurance groups of varying sizes, some of which are mutual insurance companies possessing competitive advantages in that all their profits inure to their policyholders. In addition, certain foreign insurers
may be taxed at lower rates, which may result in a competitive advantage over AFG. The property and casualty insurance segment also competes with self-insurance plans, captive programs and risk retention groups. Competition is based on many factors, including service to policyholders and agents, product design, reputation for claims handling, price, commissions, ratings and financial strength.
AFG’s annuity segment competes with individual insurers and insurance groups, mutual funds and other financial institutions. In addition, in recent years, offshore and/or hedge fund companies have made significant acquisitions of annuity businesses. Competition is based on numerous factors including reputation, product design, interest crediting rates, performance, scope of distribution, commissions and perceived financial strength and credit ratings.
Some of AFG’s competitors have more capital and greater resources than AFG and may offer a broader range of products and lower prices than AFG offers. If competition limits AFG’s ability to write new or renewal business at adequate rates, its results of operations will be adversely affected.
The continued threat of terrorism and ongoing military and other actions, as well as civil unrest, may adversely affect AFG’s results of operations.
The occurrence of one or more terrorist attacks could cause significant losses from insurance claims that could adversely affect AFG’s profitability. Private sector catastrophe reinsurance is limited and generally unavailable for terrorism losses caused by attacks with nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological weapons. Reinsurance coverage from the federal government under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 (“TRIPRA”) is also limited. Although TRIPRA provides benefits for certified acts of terrorism that exceed a certain threshold of industry losses, those benefits are subject to a deductible and other limitations.
AFG’s results of operations could be adversely impacted by catastrophes, both natural and man-made, pandemics or severe weather conditions or climate change.
Catastrophes can be caused by unpredictable natural events such as hurricanes, windstorms, severe storms, tornadoes, floods, hailstorms, severe winter weather, earthquakes, explosions and fire, and by other events, such as terrorist attacks, as well as pandemics and other similar outbreaks in many parts of the world, including the outbreak of COVID-19. While not considered a catastrophe by insurance industry standards, droughts can have a significant adverse impact on AFG’s crop insurance results. These events may have a material adverse effect on AFG’s workforce and business operations as well as the workforce and operations of AFG’s customers and independent agents. Some of the assets in AFG’s investment portfolio may be adversely affected by declines in the financial markets, changes in interest rates, reduced liquidity and economic activity caused by large-scale catastrophes, pandemics, terrorist attacks or similar events which could have a material adverse effect on AFG’s revenue, liquidity and operating results.
The extent of gross losses for AFG’s insurance operations from a catastrophe event is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in the area affected by the event and the severity of the event, potentially mitigated by any reinsurance coverage purchased by AFG’s insurance subsidiaries. In addition, certain catastrophes could result in both property and non-property claims from the same event. A severe catastrophe or a series of catastrophes could result in losses exceeding AFG’s reinsurance protection and may have a material adverse impact on its results of operations or financial condition.
Volatility in crop prices, as a result of weather conditions, climate change or otherwise, could adversely impact AFG’s results of operations.
Weather conditions, including too much moisture (flooding or excessive rain) or not enough moisture (droughts), and the level of crop prices in the commodities market heavily impact AFG’s crop insurance business. These factors are inherently unpredictable and could result in significant volatility in the results of the crop insurance business from one year to the next. AFG’s crop results could also be negatively impacted by pests and plant disease. A large decline in the commodity prices of one or more of the major crops that AFG insures could have a material adverse effect on AFG’s results of operations or financial condition.
Changing climate conditions may increase the frequency and severity of catastrophic events and thereby adversely affect our financial condition and results.
Changing weather patterns and climatic conditions, such as global warming, appear to have contributed to the unpredictability, frequency and severity of natural disasters and created additional uncertainty as to future trends and exposures. There is a growing scientific consensus that global warming and other climate change are increasing the frequency and severity of catastrophic weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms, floods and other natural disasters. Such changes make it more difficult for AFG to predict and model catastrophic events, reducing AFG’s ability to accurately price its exposure to such events and mitigate its risks. Any increase in the frequency or severity of
natural disasters may result in losses exceeding AFG’s reinsurance protection and may have a material adverse impact on its results of operations or financial condition.
The impact of COVID-19 and related risks could materially affect AFG’s results of operations, financial position and liquidity.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in, and is expected to continue to result in, significant disruptions in economic activity and financial markets both domestically and internationally. COVID-19 has directly and indirectly adversely affected AFG and will likely continue to do so for an uncertain period of time. The cumulative effects of COVID-19 on AFG cannot be predicted at this time, but could include (or could continue to include), without limitation:
•Continued volatility and further disruption in financial markets which could result in significant declines in the fair value of AFG’s investments and could lead to investment losses due to creditor defaults and bankruptcies;
•Continued low or declining interest rates which could reduce future investment results;
•Continued negative impact on premium volumes and annuity sales due to the impact of COVID-19 on general economic activity;
•Negative impact on the global economy or the economies of particular countries or regions, including travel, trade, tourism, the health system, food supply, consumption and overall economic output;
•Reduced cash flows from policyholders delaying premium payments and increased surrenders and annuitizations of in force annuities;
•Increased claims, including annuity and life insurance death claims, losses, litigation and related expenses;
•Legislative, regulatory, and judicial actions in response to COVID-19, including, but not limited to: actions prohibiting AFG from canceling insurance policies in accordance with policy terms; requiring AFG to cover losses when its policies specifically excluded coverage or did not provide coverage; ordering AFG to provide premium refunds; granting extended grace periods for payment of premiums; and providing for extended periods of time to pay past due premiums; and
•Policyholder losses from COVID-19-related claims could be greater than AFG’s reserves for those losses.
AFG may experience difficulties with technology or data security, which could have an adverse effect on its business or reputation.
AFG uses computer systems and services to store, retrieve, evaluate and utilize company and customer data and information. Systems failures or outages could compromise AFG’s ability to perform business functions in a timely manner, which could harm its ability to conduct business and hurt its relationships with business partners and customers. In the event of a disaster such as a natural catastrophe, an industrial accident, a blackout, a malicious software attack, a terrorist attack or war, AFG’s systems may be inaccessible to employees, customers or business partners for an extended period of time. Even if AFG’s employees are able to report to work, they may be unable to perform their duties for an extended period of time if AFG’s data or systems are disabled or destroyed.
AFG’s computer systems are subject to cyber-attacks, viruses, malware, hackers and other external hazards, as well as inadvertent errors, equipment and system failures and to unauthorized or illegitimate actions by employees, consultants, agents and other persons with legitimate access to AFG’s systems. In addition, over time, the sophistication of these threats continues to increase. AFG’s administrative and technical controls as well as other preventative actions used to reduce the risk of cyber incidents and protect AFG’s information may be insufficient to detect or prevent future unauthorized access, other physical and electronic break-ins, cyber-attacks or other security breaches to AFG’s computer systems or those of third parties with whom AFG does business.
AFG has increasingly outsourced certain technology and business process functions to third parties and may continue to do so in the future. Outsourcing of certain technology and business process functions to third parties may expose AFG to increased risk related to data security or service disruptions. If AFG does not effectively develop, implement and monitor these relationships, third-party providers do not perform as anticipated, technological or other problems are incurred with a transition, or outsourcing relationships relevant to AFG’s business process functions are terminated, AFG may not realize expected productivity improvements or cost efficiencies and may experience operational difficulties, increased costs and a loss of business.
The increased risks identified above could expose AFG to data loss, disruption of service, monetary and reputational damages, competitive disadvantage and significant increases in compliance costs and costs to improve the security and resiliency of AFG’s computer systems. The compromise of personal, confidential or proprietary information could also subject AFG to legal liability or regulatory action under evolving cyber-security, data protection and privacy laws and regulations enacted by the U.S. federal and state governments, Canada, the European Union (the “EU”) or other jurisdictions or by various regulatory organizations or exchanges. As a result, AFG’s ability to conduct business and its results of operations might be materially and adversely affected.
Any failure to appropriately collect, administer and protect consumer information could adversely affect AFG’s reputation, subject AFG to fines, claims and penalties, and have a material adverse effect on AFG’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
AFG and certain of its third-party vendors collect and store sensitive data in the ordinary course of AFG’s business, including personal identification information of its employees and that of its customers, vendors, investors and other third parties. In connection with AFG’s property and casualty insurance operations, data may include medical information. Laws and regulations in this area are evolving at an international, national and state level and are generally becoming more rigorous, including through the adoption of more stringent subject matter-specific laws, like the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, the New York Department of Financial Services’ Cybersecurity Regulation and Ohio’s insurance data security law, which regulate the collection and use of data and security and data breach obligations. If any disruption or security breach results in a loss or damage to AFG’s data, or inappropriate disclosure of AFG’s confidential information or that of others, it could damage AFG’s reputation, affect its relationships with customers and clients, lead to claims against AFG, result in regulatory action and harm AFG’s business. In addition, AFG may be required to incur significant costs to mitigate the damage caused by any security breach or to protect against future damage.
AFG’s international operations exposes it to investment, political and economic risks, including foreign currency and credit risk.
AFG’s international operations expose AFG to a number of additional risks. These risks include restrictions such as price controls, capital controls, currency exchange limits, ownership limits and other restrictive or anti-competitive governmental actions or requirements, which could have an adverse effect on AFG’s business and reputation. AFG’s business activities outside the United States may also be subject to political and economic risks, including foreign currency and credit risk.
AFG’s business activities outside the United States subject AFG to additional domestic and foreign laws and regulations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act and similar laws in other countries that prohibit the making of improper payments to foreign officials. Although AFG has policies and controls in place that are designed to ensure compliance with these laws, if those controls are ineffective and an employee or intermediary fails to comply with applicable laws and regulations, AFG could suffer civil and criminal penalties and AFG’s business and reputation could be adversely affected. Some countries have laws and regulations that lack clarity and, even with local expertise and effective controls, it can be difficult to determine the exact requirements of, and potential liability for non-compliance under, the local laws. Failure to comply with local laws in a particular market may result in substantial liability and could have a significant and negative effect not only on AFG’s business in that market but also on AFG’s reputation generally.
Ineffective risk management policies in the indexed annuity business could adversely affect AFG̵